Bill Gates and Melinda Gates announced they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage. This leaves open the question of what will happen to their massive holdings worth more than $130 billion and their charitable foundation.
Though there is a separation agreement in place, that doesn’t mean that it will be easy to split their estate.
The couple released a statement Monday announcing the divorce.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a tweet. “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
They gave no reason for the break-up. However, Melinda Gates says the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
“This marriage is irretrievably broken,” Melinda wrote in the divorce petition. “We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract.”
The couple married in 1994 after meeting at Microsoft and have three adult children: Rory John, 21, and daughters Phoebe Adele, 18, and Jennifer Katharine, 25.
Bill Gates, Melinda Gates Will Divide Assets
Forbes estimated that Bill Gates is worth $130.5 billion. He is considered one of the richest people in the world, just below Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. Bezos also recently went through a divorce. Melinda’s net worth is unclear.
How they will split their assets will be tricky. Aside from the money, they own several properties together. That includes Xanadu 2.0 in Washington worth an estimated $130.88 million. And a $43 million mansion in Del Mar, California, according to People.
Going forward, though, both have said they’re not asking for anything.
Melinda is not seeking spousal or child support in the divorce, according to court documents. But she requested that the court enforce their separation contract.
The case will move slowly as it will not reach a judge until April 2022, People said. However, Melinda Gates has asked the courts to bar either party from selling any property or business holdings until then. Lawyers will begin working to dissolve their partnerships and property holdings in September, People said.
They both plan to continue their charitable work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they said. They haven’t discussed how they plan to split the work or projects.